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Iranian president,
Hassan Rouhani
Wikimedia Commons /

Despite Iran's promises to maintain the rights of the country's religious minorities, persecution is still a matter of tremendous concern for various faith groups. However, it seems that the Islamic regime has a particular interest in the systemic persecution of Christians.

A report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom indicates that Iranian authorities continue to raid churches, threatening their members and also imprisoning them. The same report states that more than 500 Christians have been arrested since 2010.

While it's encouraging to know that in these past few weeks some Christian prisoners were granted release prior to their completed term, VOMC's sources indicate that there are others who have been arrested. Among those imprisoned are 18 Christians who were tried and convicted in recent months for evangelizing, facilitating home churches, and speaking out against Iran's Islamic Republic. The combined sentences of their trials totalled almost 24 years in prison.

The Iranian government's persecution of religious minorities stands in direct contrast to President Hassan Rouhani's promise to protect religious freedom which he made while campaigning in 2013. Todd Nettleton, spokesperson for VOM USA, explains that President Rouhani, who perceives Christianity as a direct threat to his government, "is still someone who wants to protect the Islamic Republic of Iran." For more information on persecution in this restricted nation, and to review previous reports, go to VOMC's Iran Country Report.

Please take a moment to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Iran. May they be strengthened by the empowerment of God's Spirit, and may their hearts be encouraged by the hope we have in Christ. Ask that a hedge of protection would surround the country's Christians and members of other religious minorities. Let us also continue to lift up the Iranian government and its authorities, asking God -- in His infinite mercy -- to move their hearts toward repentance, so that many will come to know Him and the glory of His mighty presence.